About a week or ten days before Webb cast off out of Durban on his way to St. Helena, he sent an email to me titled "a mutual acquaintance." He said a fellow Pathfinder sailor had stopped by GANNET to introduce himself and drop off a gift of a bottle of Laphroaig - 43% proof. The Pathfinder sailor said he and I had corresponded a while back. Webb likes the Pathfinder design, possibly because it reminds him of his Drascome Lugger CHIDIOCK TICHBORNE, and of course he, as anyone who reads his journal knows, enjoys Laphroaig. It was a very welcomed visit.
The Pathfinder sailor is Greg and he built his Pathfinder "Joytoy" on the farm where he lives in Mooi River, South Africa. Looking back through our emails I now remember we had a discussion about ballast and a few other things, plus Greg's joy in the way the Pathfinder sails. I asked him to send me some photos, which I've included here. I'll also include his comments....
"First one (above) was of a trip to Mozambique: A friend of mine Barrie Barnes and I towed the boat to Maputo 18 months ago ,and then we sailed across the bay to Inhaca island where we spent a week camping aboard. A fantastic trip, with the only trouble being the rampant corruption and the demand for bribes. I have been to Mozambique many times on my big boat and you never know what kind of reception you are going to get!"
"The second picture is my favourite summer sailing destination: Sterkfontein Dam, which is one South Africa’s largest reservoirs supplying the greater Johannesburg area. It sits at an elevation of 1700 metres(5600 feet) and is very cold in winter. Great winds for sailing ,and plenty of good anchorages. Very beautiful as it is nestled right up against the Drakensberg mountains which rise to over 3300 metres(11 000 feet)."
"The third picture is of our two month trip to Nosse Be in Madagascar last year. A wonderful, friendly and very beautiful area to visit. Still very primitive and poor. Thankfully the officials are used to dealing with cruising boats and are easy to deal with."
"The last picture was from a trip some years ago taken on the Atoll of Bassas da India,an in the middle of the Mozambique chanel, very isolated with no real protection. At high tide it is entirely covered and one ends up feeling like you anchored 200 NM from land! Great diving and fishing."
This last photo, of course, is not a Pathfinder, but instead Greg's 36 foot Lavranos cruiser, SomeDay Forever. Webb thought Someday Forever was a great name and wrote about it here.
I am still a little bit amazed at the connections I've made around the world through the Pathfinder design, from friends in New Zealand, South Africa, France, England, the list goes on and on. Yes, nice to have made a mutual acquaintance.
Webb has rounded the bottom of Africa and turned north towards St. Helena. I think he would consider the sailing so far as "coastal sailing," now he is going offshore.
The wind, above, and waves, are behind him and I imagine GANNET will make great progress. Winds at about 30 mpg, waves about 4 feet. I wonder if it feels a little bit like a roller coaster.